Minimum wage debate is positive
Posted Tuesday, February 26 2013 at 02:00
This Bill is crucial because many Ugandan workers have suffered under the wrath of their employees and do not enjoy their labour rights. Today, many workers irrespective of their skills level, are paid less than what their work entails, while others are never paid for services rendered.
Three MPs last week drafted a private members’ Bill aimed at putting in place minimum wages for all workers in Uganda. The MPs have already sought permission from Parliament to draft the Bill, with hope that the first reading takes place soon.
The previous minimum wage was placed at Shs6,000 a month in 1984. This figure can no longer sustain any family in Uganda even for a day due to the changing economic times.
It is, therefore, important that this Bill is not shelved like many that have remained as blue-prints, partly due to lack of interest from some of our lawmakers. The legislators said the Bill will emphasise wages for all workers across all sectors set by a representative board of minimum wages.
This Bill is crucial because many Ugandan workers have suffered under the wrath of their employers and do not enjoy their labour rights. Today, many workers irrespective of their skills level, are paid less than what their work entails, while others are never paid for services rendered.
The absence of a minimum wage law will not only create an unproductive workforce but also a dissatisfied one.
Unofficial figures of unemployment stand at more than 50 per cent. Related to this, a disgruntled society can be a menace, so if the government puts into law a minimum wage, we are likely to have a society that is less corrupt and one that does not look at committing crime as its only direct route to earning a living.
As we move towards the East Africa integration whereby there will be free movement of labour across the partner States, it is important that this law is passed. Uganda is the only country in East Africa that does not have a minimum wage.
There are fears that this wage policy might force employers to cut down on workers so as to meet the new wage bill, or even scare away investors who might not be able to meet the set fee. The government should consult with players in the private sector to ensure that the policy is properly executed.